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Design Tips for Custom T-shirts: How To Design and Prepare Artwork for T-shirt Printing

Custom t-shirts are in demand and not all Designers are trained in spot and color separation for printing. Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours on a t-shirt design only to be told by the printer that your design will not work for t-shirt printing. There are a few tips and guidelines to keep in mind when designing t-shirts.

Make Sure the Font is Readable

Most t-shirts are typically promoting an event, company, or message. Choose clear, readable fonts for your t-shirt design in order to ensure your message is getting across. This does not mean that the fonts you choose need to be plain and ordinary, it is fine to used stylized fonts, just be sure that what you are trying to say can be read clearly.

Don’t forget to convert your text to outlines before giving it to the printer so any computer that opens the file will view the text as an image. This will make certain your original font will be used and no substitutions made.

Use High Quality Graphics

You want to be sure any images or clip art used in your design are high quality so they do not appear blurry or pixelated once printed on the t-shirt. If possible, use vector images instead of raster so that color separations will be easier and small details print cleaner. Some printers will not print copyrighted or licensed images, so make sure you have the proper permission to print any images used.

Create Your Artwork at Actual Size

Creating your artwork at the actual size you want it printed will further ensure the best print quality and also guarantee that your vision of the final product will come to life. The printer’s judgment on what you have in mind may not always be correct, so the safest bet is to go ahead and create the design the size you would like it printed. Not sure what size would be best? Ask the printer what the standards are, or simply hold a ruler up to a t-shirt and go from there.

Don’t Use Too Many Colors

The more colors you choose to use in your design, the more expensive it will be to print. When it comes to designing for a t-shirt, less is more. If you want to use several shades of a green, use a halftone instead of separate colors. The best way to do this is to slide the color scale down to a percentage of the color used.

By keeping these tips in mind when designing for t-shirts and t-shirt printing you will alleviate the most common problems you might face. Properly designing and preparing your artwork in this manner should give you a more accurate print.

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